Last year when the Washington Football Team was on the clock in the first round of the NFL Draft, the pick was easy.
Washington chose second, meaning everyone except Joe Burrow was on the board for them. Additionally, Washington didn't need that whole board because Chase Young was on it and he was the clear choice. Even months before the draft, it was pretty much Young no matter what.
This time around, things won't be as simple. Slotted in at No. 19, there are a lot more variables at play. Depending on what happens with the 18 picks before it, Washington will most likely have to adjust on the fly. The team may have a favorite player, but that guy could be gone by then.
There are numerous different routes Washington could take on April 29. Linebacker and offensive line are popular in mock drafts, while others could see the team making a move for a quarterback. One even has (gulp) a running back being the play.
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is a fan of the first two options, but to him, there is one that makes more sense than the other.
"Offensive line or linebacker, it's a really good off-the-ball linebacker draft, so I think take a quality offensive lineman there and you're going to still have linebackers in the third, fourth round that come in and help you," Jeremiah said to the media in a Wednesday conference call. "So there's good players out there. So that would be kind of my reasoning there on maybe looking at that offensive line. They've got to get better there."
As Jeremiah stated, there is a fair amount of talent at linebacker in this class, meaning Washington could potentially address that position of need later on. Jabril Cox out of LSU could be a name to keep an eye on, and though Jamin Davis from Kentucky is going in the first round of some mocks, others could see him slipping down a little further. He also doesn't see the team trading up for a quarterback unless Trey Lance begins a major slide.
Therefore, Jeremiah thinks Washington should look toward the offensive line in round one and wait for a linebacker. In terms of the prospect he likes the most, Alijah Vera-Tucker came to mind.
The versatile offensive lineman from USC is someone that Jeremiah sees as a "home run" for the Jets at No. 23, and given that Washington isn't too far ahead and needs help there, it would most likely be a great pick for Ron Rivera and company as well.
"Vera-Tucker, he's one of my favorite players in the whole draft. He can play darned near anywhere. I think he's going to be an all-pro guard," Jeremiah said discussing options for the Vikings at No. 14. "He can hold up at tackle if you wanted him to. But you want to get better along that offensive line, I think he's just one of the cleanest, safest picks in the whole draft."
The prospect is someone that former Washington offensive lineman Trevor Matich is high on as well, citing the fact that Vera-Tucker has the potential to make an impact at multiple spots. Matich, though, is also skeptical that he will be there when Washington is on the clock.
Should that be the case, there are other options for Washington. Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw is another tackle that could be around at No. 19 as a fit, and Matich also has his eyes on a few later-round prospects.
Nothing is truly simple about Washington's first round pick this year, as there are a lot more unknowns than in 2020. Yet for Jeremiah, there is a way to find some clarity. If a great offensive lineman is there at No. 19, that's the pick.